PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Home remedies for nail fungus

Q: More than a year ago, I read about multiple home remedies for nail fungus. I’ve soaked my feet in vinegar and Listerine, and applied tea tree oil, Vicks VapoRub and Naftin (a topical prescription drug).

I have been diligent and even spend most of my time shoeless to let my 10 diseased piggies breathe. None of this has worked. The filing I do every two weeks is about the only thing that keeps the nail thickness down.

Given the time I have spent on this project, I am very disillusioned to see so little difference.

A: Treating nail fungus can be difficult. Even prescription drugs don’t work for everyone. It would be unreasonable to expect home remedies to be much more effective. You may want to have your dermatologist confirm that you are actually dealing with nail fungus and not some other condition.

Home remedies do work for some people: “When I read your article about soaking the toes in vinegar and Listerine every day, I figured I had little to lose. I started soaking twice a day, and I still am. It’s been three months, and all my nails have cleared up except for the big toes.”

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. They can be reached at peoplespharmacy

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